Ariella Furman on Machinima as a New Business Language

Today we have a guest post from Second Life resident and machinima evangelist Ariella Furman. Ariella, the CEO of ALM Productions, lays out the argument for integrating high-quality machinima into the everyday business practices of companies large and small. Furman's eye for the branding power of machinima may be ahead of its time, but businesses are quickly catching on.


The world of business embodies many different languages. The world of
the image is just one of those languages, that when combined with a
brand, can produce limitless possibilities.

I always saw business as an
almost fake, overproduced foreign language. When I was getting my
degree, everyone told me to minor in business. I dropped out of the
very first pre-requisite I had to take; it just wasn't my thing. I was
a pure film school geek! Then I discovered machinima.

Machinima as a Business Language

When I went into the world of Virtual Worlds, I started out making a documentary for my class for fun featuring a female Amazon tribe. This work was noticed by a few solution providers, who hired
me to produce videos for multinational brands like Nestle and World
Bank.

The experience was overwhelming, but it had me step up my game.
During that beginning stage of my career, I went in head first without
really having a good background in business. However, I was instantly
captivated by what these brands were doing. They were fresh, new, and
open to artistic ideas. They totally spoke my language!

After working with more well-known brands such as
HP and IBM, I began to follow some of these brands out of curiosity.
Why machinima? Why, especially when it is such a new process that is
under developed save for a few machinimatographer's works?

After analyzing the many uses these brand managers had for their products I realized, how valuable machinima is for business,
in no particular order:

  • Machinima is a very versatile medium. You can
    stream it in Second Life, post it on Twitter, share it on Facebook. It
    lives, eats, and breaths advertising and Web 2.0 like no other medium.
    It can spread like wildfire.
  • Video
    is a fully-immersive media; it combines many different tools such as
    music, images, text, etc. to engage all of the senses. The viewer is
    left with a more impactful experience and absorbs more information in a
    shorter amount of time
  • It's also portable! Going to a meeting? Stick it on your iphone.
  • Machinima is a bridge for those who can't access Virtual Worlds. If
    your brand is doing something huge in-world, they best way to reach a
    wider audience is to release it to those still surfing the regular web.
    This might inspire them to get an avatar and head over to your sim.
  • It's a new technology and you're setting
    technological precedent by investing in a big project. A lot of people
    are mesmerized by the new sensation of an avatar and the future of
    things like Augmented technology. It shows your brand to be on the up
    and front about it.
  • Machinima is extremely cost efficient. It costs less to
    make than traditional video and it defies the laws of gravity. You can
    fly and do more in-camera effects. With a good builder and scripter,
    you can show a building emerging out of the ground within a few hours
    of work. 
  • Archival purposes. Sims don't last forever, but a video does.
  • The technology is growing and just a little over a year ago, we didn't
    have the addition of Windlight and shadows. The graphics of the game
    looked completely different. They looked more cartoony, now they have
    more dimension and depth as well as resolution for more realistic
    images. This also gives more control over specific looks you wish to
    recreate (film noir, anyone?) The better it gets, the more you'll be
    able to do for a decent price (compared to traditional video).
  • Machinima leaves a very small carbon footprint. Most of the collaboration during a production is just done over a computer.

After viewing the ways these fresh, innovative brands took
advantage of machinima, I know that in the end it's up to the
imaginations of people who are willing to take a chance and reap the
positive results.

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